The Memorial Day weekend got off to an unusual – and less than somber – start at the John O. Roth Funeral Home when a Buffalo man attending his grandmother’s funeral service got out of control and had to be arrested, according to City of Tonawanda police.
The trouble began Friday evening at the funeral home, 25 William St., at Morgan Street, when Joseph M. Wojciechowski, 33, showed up and got into an argument in the funeral parlor that escalated, said Police Capt. Fredric F. Foels.
While his relative’s service was being conducted in one of the rooms inside the funeral home, Wojciechowski got into an argument with other family members and became loud and belligerent, police said.
His behavior triggered phone calls from the funeral home, Foels said.
When officers arrived, Wojciechowski was in the parking lot and a war of words escalated.
“This guy just wouldn’t let up,” Foels said, adding that officers at the scene reported he was the grandson of the deceased.
Wojciechowski, of Henrietta Avenue, Buffalo, refused to stop swearing and became more belligerent with officers and family members, police said.
He ended up being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of disrupting a funeral service, which is covered in the statutes.
“It’s on the books and is in the Penal Law,” Foels said, noting that it’s not used often.
Wojciechowski also was cited with two counts of disorderly conduct for displaying unreasonable behavior and swearing in public, Foels said.
Tonawanda Associate City Judge Dean E. Lilac Jr. was called, and he arraigned Wojciechowski at about 8:30 p.m., ordering a forensic exam for him, which eliminates the option of bail. Wojciechowski is being held in the Erie County Holding Center until his next court appearance Thursday.
Winthrop Allen, a funeral director at Roth Funeral Home, declined to comment Sunday other than to say: “We respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief. It’s not our policy to comment on anything that would have happened at the funeral home.”